What You Don't Know About the Park Foundation

The Park Foundation announced a $50 million gift to North Carolina State University (NCSU) for scholarships. The school intends to match the foundation's gift by raising an addition $100 million over the next few years. (Read Park Foundation President Jon Jensen's IP profile.)

"During this challenging economic time when our university has experienced significant budget cuts, this leadership gift is especially meaningful," NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson told WRal.com. Woodson has increased the school's endowment by 70% in the three years he's held the position.

Park gives around $7.5 million a year in the area of higher education, mostly through scholarships and fellowships. The foundation estimates it's allotted around $65 million in this area to date.

Foundation progenitor Roy Park graduated from NCSU in 1931. The organization has since vigorously supported NCSU and Ithaca College with development grants and funding for both scholarships and fellowships. Park served during his lifetime as a trustee at both schools, worked extensively with the Alumni association, and held chairmanships at NCSU along with a presidential stint.

Since three years after Park's 1993 death, Park Scholarships have been awarded to NCSU and Ithaca students based on merit.

The scholarships provide "tuition and fees, room and board, books, and a stipend for a personal computer," according to the website. Park Scholars also receive leadership coaching and opportunities to work with a variety of non-profit organizations. The foundation gives roughly 45 scholarships a year, and two-thirds of recipients are North Carolina residents. The University of North Carolina also offers fellowships with Park Foundation support.

In terms of its philosophies and proclivities, the Park Foundation is pro-journalism and anti-fracking. Most of its money circulates around Ithaca, New York, and North Carolina's university system. Both of these interests make the foundation's name a good candidate for the address books of environmentally oriented investigative journalists and scholars.

Although the foundation does accept unsolicited grant proposals, for better or worse it sounds as though Park prefers to rely on social networks for leads on promising investments when it can.